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Dr. Siobhan O'Brien

Assistant Professor (Microbiology)

I am an Assistant Professor and Group Leader in Microbial Ecology & Evolution in the Dept of Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin. Previously, I held a Tenure-Track position at the University of Liverpool (2019-2021) and fellowships at Wissenschaftslkolleg zu Berlin (2019), ETH Zürich (2017-2019) and University of York (2015-2017). I completed my PhD under the supervision of Prof Angus Buckling at the University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus. My research asks broad questions about how microbial communities evolve and function. In particular, I am interested in how intra- and interspecific interactions within these communities can drive evolutionary changes, and how evolution can in turn shape community context (e.g. see review papers: O'Brien et al 2013, O'Brien & Fothergill 2017). To tackle these questions, I experimentally evolve microbes in complex communities, with the goal of bridging the gap between the lab and the field.
  Ecological Evolution, Dynamics   Evolutionary Biology   Microbial ecology
 How is P. aeruginosa virulence driven by multispecies interactions in the cystic fibrosis lung?
 Investigating the impact of anthropogenic change on soil microbiome functioning and crop health
 Exploring how species interactions shape adaptive evolution in soil microbial communities
 Investigating the interplay between pesticides and antimicrobial resistance in soil bacterial populations.

Details Date From Date To
Society for Applied Microbiology 2023
Microbiology Society (UK & IRELAND) 2011
Society for the Study of Evolution, USA 2017 2022
Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution 2023
Matthew Kelbrick, Elze Hesse, Siobhan O'Brien, Cultivating antimicrobial resistance: how intensive agriculture ploughs the way for antibiotic resistance, Microbiology, 169, (8), 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Siobhán O'Brien, Chris Culbert, Timothy G. Barraclough, Community composition drives siderophore dynamics in multispecies bacterial communities. , BMC Ecology and Evolution, 23, (45), 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Siobhan O'Brien, Development of liquid culture media mimicking the conditions of sinuses and lungs in cystic fibrosis and health, F1000Research, 11, 2022, p1007 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Siobhan O'Brien , Michael Baumgartner, Alex Hall, Species interactions drive the spread of ampicillin resistance in human-associated gut microbiota, Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 9, (1), 2021, p256--266 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Elze Hesse, S. O'Brien, AM Lujan, D Sanders, F Bayer, E van Veen, DJ Hodgson & A. Buckling. , Stress causes interspecific facilitation within a compost community, Ecology Letters, 24, (10), 2021, p2169--2177 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Peter Stilwell, S. O'Brien, E. Hesse, C. Lowe, A Gardner, A Buckling, Resource heterogeneity and the evolution of public goods cooperation, Evolution Letters, 4, (2), 2020, p155--163 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Siobhán O'Brien, Rolf Kümmerli, Steve Paterson, Craig Winstanley, Michael A. Brockhurst, Transposable temperate phages promote the evolution of divergent social strategies in Pseudomonas aeruginosa populations, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286, (1912), 2019, p20191794 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
O'Brien, S., Hesse, E., Luján, A., Hodgson, D.J., Gardner, A., Buckling, A., No effect of intraspecific relatedness on public goods cooperation in a complex community, Evolution, 72, (5), 2018, p1165-1173 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
Hesse, E., O'Brien, S., Tromas, N., Bayer, F., Luján, A.M., van Veen, E.M., Hodgson, D.J., Buckling, A., Ecological selection of siderophore-producing microbial taxa in response to heavy metal contamination, Ecology Letters, 21, (1), 2018, p117-127 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
O'Brien, S., Fothergill, J.L., The role of multispecies social interactions in shaping Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenicity in the cystic fibrosis lung, FEMS Microbiology Letters, 364, (15), 2017, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL

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Matthew Kelbrick, Andy Fenton, Steven Parratt, James P. J Hall, Siobhán O'Brien, Spatial refuges and nutrient acquisition predict the outcome of evolutionary rescue in evolving microbial populations, BioRxiv, 2023, Journal Article, PUBLISHED


Award Date
George C. Williams Prize Finalist (ISEMPH) 2022
John Maynard Smith Prize (European Society for Evolutionary Biology) 2018
Society for Molecular Biology & Evolution. Travel award 2017
National Academy of Sciences working group, California, USA. Travel Award 2014
University of Cambridge, Travel Award 2014
Communication for Collaboration Workshop, Bristol, UK. Travel award 2014
European Corporation in Science & Technology Award 2012
European meeting for PhD students in Evolutionary Biology, Finland. Travel award 2012